Category Archives: Total Elimination Diet

Small things

  • Audrey and Fi on the trail Fri 04/29/2011

    My friend Kim and I took our collective nine kids out for a hike on Friday on a trail only ten minutes from my home, but which I’d never previously explored.  Fiala, at 2.5 was the youngest.  She is a more willing hiker than Audrey, aged 5, but her legs are shorter.  They tired at about the same point, halfway into the hike, which totaled about 1.5 miles, maybe a bit further.

    6:30 a.m. on the top of Deem Hill

    Both Kim and I decided that we wanted to go back to the park, sometime in the near future.  So, I went this morning.  I’m not an early bird, by any stretch of the imagination, but I was motivated.  I was up at 5:30 and on the trail at 6:00.  I hiked about 3.6 miles in an hour and 20 minutes.  Lots of altitude changes, but when I got back home, I checked the map,

    Looking towards the sun

    and as best as I can tell, even though I picked the highest trail, I only gained and lost an altitude of about 500′.  Felt like more than that.  Like a LOT more than that.  Clearly, I need to hike more.  As I walked in the door at 7:30 this morning, I could smell and hear the coffee percolating, and my hubby was wielding a spatula over the stove, trying to shoo our waking children back into their bedrooms.  🙂  It made me feel good.

  • I am daily checking my garden for sprouts, even though it’s only been six days since I planted it.  🙂  I’m eager.  I also started some tomato seeds in homemade/improvised seed trays, and will do some more today — either tomatillo or chile pepper.  The rest of my compost simply won’t be ready by the time I’m ready to plant some more, so we’ll be getting some bags of manure from Home Depot.  I’m trying not to feel like a composting-failure by resorting to the home improvement store, but at least they’re only $0.85 each, so it’s not like I’ll be throwing more money at the garden than is justified.  I tend to get really gung-ho about a project, drop a hundred of our non-existent dollars on it, then abandon it.  I’m rather hedging my bets this time — investing as little money on the garden as possible, both so that if it fails, we’re not out a big chunk of change.  Also, the less money I spend, the more profitable the garden is.  I’m also trying to resist the urge to quit before I’ve even really begun, when seeing some head-high plants from a friend’s garden.  A friend here in the Phoenix area.  However, I won’t.  I won’t quit.  I have spent a lifetime of giving up on things when it appears that I won’t (or even possibly won’t) TOTALLY EXCEL, and that’s a really, really, really bad habit, which I’m ready to kick.  It’s hard, though.
  • I love the Body of Christ, the local church.  The guy who is leading the small group I attend — actually, he’s sort of leading it, but more like mentoring another guy into leading — is going to be moving next Saturday, and mentioned something about it on Thursday.  Another guy — who has only been attending for 4-5 weeks — pipes up, “I have a trailer!” and in a few minutes, the two had made plans for the Trailer Guy to help the Moving Guy move.  The whole thing made me smile.  I guess if you’re not part of the Body of Christ, you rent a U-Haul.  🙂  Along the same lines, my hubby is helping the daughter of a friend from church (she goes to our church, too) move today.  Even though I’m sure he’ll get a sore back and a few trips to the chiropractor out of it, I’m happy that he can help…  We’ve been on the recipient end of the Body of Christ SO OFTEN, and it’s right and good to reciprocate.
  • Small Fiala update:  She had her half-day last week.  She is officially 2½.  We are cautiously testing bananas this week.  So far, so good.  I wouldn’t even have tried bananas, but last week, she woke early, climbed up to the fruit basket on the countertop, and helped herself to a banana, with no apparent ill effects.  But, some of the foods we’ve tested this year have appeared safe for a week or even two, before she absolutely exploded in a rash.  That’s what happened with corn.  We are only able to test one new food every 3-4 weeks or so, because it takes anywhere from one day to two weeks for a reaction to show and then an additional week or two for her to heal enough from the bad reaction to get her back to a “baseline” from which we can test another food.  So far this year, she has failed carrots, corn, potatoes, and coconut (and all other palm-related foods & products).  She has only had a successful trial on eggs, which have made a delightful addition to her still really, really limited diet.  I’m starting to consider another trip to the allergist.
  • So now, today, it’s not yet noon, and I’ve hiked 3½ miles, had eggs and coffee with my hubby, made pancakes for my children, and blogged.  🙂  Laundry, ironing, baseball, starting another tray of seeds, and preparing to lead worship in SuperChurch tomorrow will take up the rest of my day.  It’s one of those days which I call to mind when I’m talking to someone I haven’t seen in a while, and they ask, “What’s new?”  Well, nothing is new.  Nothing at all, really.  It’s not really an eventful life I lead, but it’s still a good one.
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Fiala/Titanic – Oh God Oh God Oh God!

Sunday, my pastor, Dennis Bourns, had a sermon that wasn’t.  He said that he meant to speak on thankfulness, but instead relayed a number of stories from a recent ministry trip to Northern Ireland.  I’m glad he did.  The theme running through the stories was about depending on God.  He called it something like steering clear of the iceberg, where you can see that your Titanic is definitely heading for disaster, and all you can do is pray, “Oh God oh God oh God!”  Then, He responds, and alerts you, or opens your eyes, to a way out, one that you would not have previously considered.

I needed to hear that.  It seems I can see my ship on the path to destruction, and too many times, I just brace for impact, instead of asking Him to divert the ship, or come up with some sort of Plan B.

Afterward, Dennis asked each of us to participate in a time of corporate prayer, each praying individually for that “iceberg” in our lives.  I prayed for my 11 year old son Grant, who, I’m afraid, is bent on destroying himself and taking down as many people as possible with him.  That’s a “gift” of motherhood, by the way:  Extrapolation — perceiving events the events of today, and envisioning a possible/likely future if things proceed down the current path.  That can be both a blessing and a curse.

I asked my hubby what his was, and he said, “Fiala.”  I do understand that.  A day or two previous, he called her situation “distressing.”  It is.  She’s in the middle of the worst outbreak she’s had in a year.  Head to toe with eczema — BAD every-square-inch-of-her-body-covered, sandpapery, intensely itchy eczema — and on top of that, it got infected (impetigo), so now she’s on antibiotics (Septra).  In addition, she’s broken out with a different kind of rash…  I think it might be related to the impetigo, but I’m not sure.  It looks different than her “standard” eczema, larger, redder papules.  She is absolutely miserable, and it’s heartbreaking.  Right now, we’re totally praying, “Oh God oh God oh God,” because we simply don’t know how to proceed.

For now, in addition to

  • Septra
  • Various topical remedies (including olive oil, Vaseline, and bacitracin — when she can handle it, because when her skin is really raw, it stings too badly)
  • Hydroxazine for itching (which seems to work, but also makes her giddy/hyper)
  • Bleach baths 2-4x/week (the doctor we saw at the urgent care center said to do it every day for the next week or two, but that’s too irritating to her skin),

we’re taking her diet down to “bare bones” as my hubby calls it — the foods that we know are the least likely to cause a skin reaction.  That means lamb, garbanzo beans/flour, oats, blueberries, all the veggies of the brassica family, olive oil, cinnamon, and stevia.  That’s it.  On one hand, that sounds like a lot of food — and it is definitely enough food on which to survive.  But, on the other hand, it is a very simple diet for a sweet little two year old girl who loves to eat, and she spends a lot of her day asking for food (food other than what she can have) and feeling left out, often crying over missed food.  Obviously, the things that are hardest for her to understand are foods that we’ve previously OK’ed, but are now taboo, particularly maple syrup, honey, and a wee bit of sugar (like in her all-blueberry organic jam).  It’s hard to say no.  I caved and gave her cranberries on Sunday, and she paid a dear price for it on Monday.  I had been thinking that her previous bad reaction to cranberries was tied to the corn syrup in Craisins.  So, I got a variety from Trader Joe’s that is sweetened with real sugar.  She was SO VERY MISERABLE on Monday (yesterday)… that did it.  I have buckled down on her bare bones diet, with no risks allowed.  Already today, she’s doing better than yesterday, although only nominally so.

I’m thinking a trip to the pediatric g.i. doc is in our future.  My hubby hasn’t been much in favor of that, since, in the last year, I’ve done a good job of managing her care, and Doctor Mama doesn’t cost a $50 specialist co-pay.  But, I’d been considering it anyway, as Fi doesn’t appear to be making any improvements, digestive- and skin-wise, and I’m feeling rather lost without some doctoral care.  And, these last two weeks (when her skin has gotten awfully terrible again) has rather spurred me on to re-prioritize finding a doctor for her.  I mean, I haven’t made a appointment or anything yet.  But, I’m thinking that we’ll need to take that step.

Day 2 of… the rest of my life?

I’m not big on diets.  I’ve been on two in my life.  One was when, in early 2000, my husband and I did a Body for Life challenge.  That was successful, but very shortly after its completion, I got pregnant, and the whole thing went out the window.  I didn’t know how to pull off diet + pregnancy.

Ironically, the other diet upon which I embarked was two years ago, when I was pregnant with Fiala.  For three or so reasons, my doctor thought it would be wise if I did not gain any weight during my third trimester.  He put me on phase 2 of the South Beach Diet for gestational weeks 28-40, and guess what?  I didn’t gain any weight.  In fact, I had to allow myself to eat more, because following his recommendations caused me to initially lose weight.  For that entire pregnancy, I gained 17 lbs, which was the fewest of my five, by far.  I felt SO GOOD after she was born, too — not bloated and huge, and I recovered, in every way, so much more quickly.

Then, when I was nursing Fiala, and she had (has, still) major food allergy problems, I put myself on a Total Elimination Diet to make my breastmilk safe for her to drink.  During that time, I dropped to 135 lbs, which is what I weighed when I got married, nearly 16 years ago.  I weaned Fiala and went off of the TED in January of this year.  I expected to go back up to 155 lbs or so, because that’s pretty much where my body settled, post-pregnancy, after babies #3 & 4 were born.  It took a number of months, but yes, I got back up to 155.

Then… 160.

A couple of weeks ago, when I hit 165 — which is the heaviest, un-pregnant, I’ve ever been, I decided that I had to do something.  Gaining 30 pounds in nine months just is not healthy.  Also, having to buy clothes because you’re smaller?  Feels fabulous.  Buying clothes because your chub won’t fit inside of your favorite jeans any longer?  Not so much.

The part of me that doesn’t like diets is the part which rationalizes, “Diets aren’t sustainable.”  And, I still wrestle with that.  I eat healthy — very healthy, in fact, if you don’t count my penchant for dark chocolate chips and 2-3 servings of ice cream per month.  But, apparently, I’m just eating too much of it, whatever “it” is.  Even though I cannot see measuring my food and counting my carbs to really be a sustainable plan for the rest of my life, I can’t simply do nothing.  And, since I know that a modified South Beach Diet is effective for me, that’s what I’m going with.

Speaking of sustainable, right now, I would say that, on average, I have ONE day per week where I have some sort of extended form of exercise.  Ideally, I’d like that to be three or four days.  But, if I tell myself, “I am going to work out four days a week,” and I don’t reach that goal, I know I’ll be discouraged.  But… I do need to step it up.  So, part two of my plan is to double my strenuous activity to 2x/week.

The reasons I like South Beach (which I’m not trying to sell — they have a book, which I’ve never read, and they have a $5/week online program, to which I’m NOT subscribing) is because it fits in so well with what my food aims are, anyways:

  • Nutrient-dense, fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains;
  • Legumes;
  • Lean sources of protein;
  • Low-fat dairy products;
  • Good fats from foods such as omega-3-rich fish, healthy oils (like extra-virgin olive and canola oils), and nuts

I don’t know what they do in the “real” South Beach Diet, but in my modified version, I don’t count calories.  I don’t count fat grams (though I do minimize unhealthy fats).  I do count carbohydrates.  Fiber carbs, though, don’t count against the daily total.  So, say, three ounces of carrots would only count as 6 net grams (8 total, minus the 2 grams of fiber).  My “goal” for fiber is a minimum of 20 grams daily.  I say “goal” because I hit that — and soar past — every day.  I’ve read that most Americans consume less than 10 grams of fiber each day, and that’s nearly incomprehensible to me.  It would be hard for me to NOT eat 20+ grams per day.

For now, I am going to stick with 150 grams of net carbs per day, and see what the results are in two weeks.  If I’m not losing any weight, I’ll drop it down to 125 g daily.

A lot of people who do South Beach use liberal amounts of artificial sweeteners.  Um, not me.  I do supplement my coffee’s teaspoon of honey with a bit of stevia each morning, but I’m not going to eat — ever — a cupful of sugar-free Jell-O, just because it has no carbs.  Chemicals, artificial sweeteners, artificial colors… Yuck.  Can’t do it.  I want to be HEALTHY, not just carb-less.

Oh.  I do allow myself one soda every afternoon, almost always Hansen’s.  It is sweetened with Splenda, but it is all-natural besides that.  I’m iffy on Splenda.  But, I figure if my one vice is a daily can of diet Hansen’s, I’m gonna be OK.

OH!  And, I do need to find some sort of better dessert option.  After the kids go to bed, I like to settle down with my husband’s company, a book (or a TV show), and a container of frozen yogurt.  I mean, regular yogurt that I freeze, then let thaw for about 15 minutes before eating.  I’d really like one that is around 20 carbs per serving, with no artificial anything and inexpensive enough for me to buy 4-6 each week without messing up my family’s grocery budget.  Hm.  Maybe I’ll look at Trader Joe’s.  Currently, I’m eating Yoplait light, but those have aspartame.

I just looked up Breyer’s Mint Chip, and each 1/2 cup serving has 18 carbs!  A 1/2 cup serving is really, really small.  But, when I’m accountable to my tally sheet, I think I could do it.  A little bit of ice cream?  Or no ice cream?  Little bit, it’ll have to be.  😀

So… it’s my hope that I’ll learn to make better little choices that will be sustainable.  Long term do-able.  For instance, raw almonds are one of my very favorite snacks.  But, instead of just keeping the bag open in my pantry and grabbing a handful whenever, I now put 2 oz (1/3 cup – 6 regular carbs, 6 fiber carbs) in a little bowl, and be happy with that.  And, last night, with our grilled chicken, I chose not to use barbecue sauce, which I love.

I figure the least I alter what I currently do — yet, alter it, indeed! — the more likely it is to stick.

We’ll see.

I promise this won’t turn into Karen’s Diet Blog — there are enough diet blogs out there already.  But, I figure that blogging about this adds one more layer of accountability, which will help me stay on target.

🙂

Anyone wanna join me??

Balancing the busy season

There’s a fine line, sometimes, between being refreshingly honest and complaining.  I sincerely hope I’m the former.

I really don’t like to be busy.  I don’t know if it’s that, at heart, I’m naturally lazy (I hope not), or that really, my best “work” is not that which requires activity.  I don’t know.  But, anticipating seasons like the one upon which I’m embarking can, if I let it, really stress me out and rob my joy.

I look upon this past spring and wonder how I survived.  On top of homeschooling and church, we had Little League (usually four nights a week), two weekly small groups (one for my husband, and one for me), plus a bi-weekly homeschooling art class, and a homeschooling group on the off-weeks.  Plus, all the activities and tasks which allow a family and home to function.  And an ill mother and the puzzle of my youngest daughter’s diet and health.

Fiala's current fave

Seasons like that necessitate that I be highly structured and organized, with which I have a love/hate relationship.  I get a lot done when my life is highly structured, but it…  I don’t know.  I just don’t like it.  I miss the freedom, and the opportunity to, say, respond to that little pleading, upturned face, and just sit down on the kitchen floor in the midst of dinner prep and read The Shy Little Kitten to my youngest, without the pressure of knowing what it’s going to do to our schedule, should dinner be 15 minutes late.

But, weathering this past spring gives me the courage — literally — to say, “OK.  We can do two small groups, and it’s going to be all right.  I will live and not die.”

That sounds so stupid and melodramatic, but it’s true.

My life is full of good things and blessings.  It really is.  And, it has been my observation that the enemy takes evil delight in taking our blessings and framing them — just so — in our minds so that they appear to be a detriment of one sort or another.  At least, I’m vulnerable to that:  I’m tempted to see the dark cloud behind every silver lining.  And, that’s not good.  Still, neither do I want to be dishonest and say, “I can do everything!  And it all makes me happy!  And it’s easy!  Being stretched is fun!”  Because, truly, even with all the good things in my life, sometimes it just seems like there’s too much of… something, and what I’d really rather be doing is putting my back against a shady tree beside a small stream, and reading a book with one eye, and with my other, watching my kids play.  And there’s too little of that, and too much of the other, and, frankly, I’ve not yet learned what the balance is between seeking Godly peace, and simply being lazy and self-serving and yearning for the idyllic.

Also, I’m taking into consideration:

  • This week is my youngest son’s 9th birthday.  We have a day-long outing scheduled (with a couple of other families), and an overnighter with two of Wesley’s friends.  (Obligingly, another friend of mine has offered to keep my older two boys overnight with her oldest son, thus there is no net gain of children.)
  • This week, we do start the small group/kinship season again, which, in many ways, is always so wonderful.  I’m truly glad, each week, when I look into the faces of those in group with me, and I hear the teaching — which frequently is just what I needed to hear — and I participate in discussion, and ministry, and even leading worship (which I really, really love)…  I so often think, “I am so pleased to be able to be here.”  Yet, the logistics of making it happen can nearly tip me over the edge.  One weekly night, my husband stays home with our dear passel of children, and on another night, I stay home while he does the same thing at his group.  Each scenario has its challenges.
  • This week, we started having my parents back over for dinner.  For literally a decade, my mother and stepdad have been coming over for a weekly dinner.  But, this past year saw a dramatic decrease in that, both because of me being distraught over Fiala’s health and how to feed her (I’m not distressed over that anymore, but she still is difficult to feed, and I have adjusted myself to making two meals, every mealtime)… and my mother’s health has been in serious decline, with three major hospital stays over the last year.  My mother and I also had a row a couple of months ago, our first in years and years, the end of which had her proclaiming that she never wanted to talk with me again.  That was distressing.  My stepdad and I came to the conclusion that it was her ill health “talking”, which is so odd, because my mother has forever been resolute and reasonable.  It’s very unlike her to be changeable and petulant.  But, bless God for that, because after sending me a few peace offerings (which is also unlike her) of a number of gluten-free grocery/convenience items, plus a good book, she asked if we couldn’t, please, start our dinners back up.  HOW COULD I SAY NO??!?? I couldn’t.  I can’t!  I don’t want to.  I dearly want to spend that time with my parents.  Dearly.  Yet, it’s one more thing on the plate, so to speak.  This Monday, just my stepdad came over, as my mother is in Illinois with her mother.  Same with this coming Monday.  After that, it will be the two of them, but only once every other week.
  • And, literally weighing on me is the fact that I’ve put on 25 lbs since January, and am now back to my pre-pregnancy (before Fiala) weight.  That’s not a good thing.  I am very uncomfortable with myself, literally, yet after a year+ of living on a hyper-restricted diet for her sake, it’s hard to Just Say No to chocolate chips.  🙂  But, I have decided that I have to do something so the weight doesn’t keep piling on, and that’s difficult, because I’m not a dieter, yet I’m aware that I simply can’t stay the way I am right now.  I haven’t yet figured out exactly what I’m going to do.
  • And, I’m in the midst of… distilling… choosing… seeking some wisdom from my Father… about some direction for my life for the next couple of years (at least)… and it’s unclear…  I’ve been meaning to fast, but I keep forgetting!  After about five solid years of either being pregnant or nursing, I got out of the habit.  Now, it’s like, “OK.  I need to fast.  Monday.  No, that won’t work.  Parents over for dinner.  OK.  Tuesday.  Tuesday it is!” then Tuesday happens and I forget until mid-morning after two cups of coffee, a banana, some almonds, and a bowl of granola.  Etc.  So, I need to figure that out, too.  😀

And other stuff.

I really just need God.  I need His presence, I need His peace, His wisdom, His priorities, His heart, even His energy…

I closed another recent post with this same thing, but it is so on my heart:

Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge!  How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!  For who can know the Lord’s thoughts?  Who knows enough to give him advice?  And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back?  For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.  Romans 11:33-36 NLT

Pancakes (Vegan, gluten-free, corn-free, rice-free)

Yes, these are vegan, so there is no dairy, and no eggs.  And, they’re whole-grain, which is all the rage these days.

But, are they any good?  Yes.  Yes, they are.  I started making these pancakes for my youngest daughter, Fiala, who has some serious dietary restrictions.  But, when the rest of my family found out that these were not only edible, but tasty, everyone wanted some.  Now, when I make these, I make ’em for everyone.  They stand up well under butter (or butter substitute of your choice — we love Earth Balance Soy-Free), real maple syrup, and jam.  This last Saturday, I made a faux Chatilly Cream topping with Tofutti’s Sour Supreme, vanilla, cinnamon, and powdered sugar, which we dolloped on top of our jam-filled pancakes.

Beware “light” syrups — I haven’t tried any on these (I don’t buy them!), but I think the water content would make these pancakes soggy.

Normally, I like my pancakes fluffy.  But, once I concluded that I was just never going to get a FLUFFY result while taking out dairy, egg, rice, potato, and corn, I was content.  So, the resulting product is a little thicker than a crepe, and a little thinner than your standard pancake.  The good news about that, though, is that they cook in a snap.

They are also a tad darker than most pancakes, given the flour content.  And, speaking of dark, you cannot omit the sugar, or you will end up with… flatbread that doesn’t look like a pancake, because it won’t brown.

But, if you can hang with all of that, you can make these easy, tasty pancakes!

They are also high-protein and compared to similar products, very low carb.  Per good-sized pancake, they contain:

  • 4.8 g protein
  • 2.4 g sugar
  • 3.0 g fiber
  • 23.8 g total carbohydrates

Vegan Pancakes
Makes 10

  • 3 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups oat flour (no substitutions)
  • 1 cup garbanzo flour (no substitutions)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or other oil)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 cups water
  • Optional:
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1-2 scoops (45 mg each) pure stevia extract

Combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth.  Batter will very likely have small lumps (from the garbanzo flour).  Let the batter sit 5-15 minutes, and whisk again.  After sitting and re-whisking, the batter will have thickened slightly and be very smooth.

Right before cooking, add:

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Whisk thoroughly, but do no over-mix.  Lightly oil a griddle (I use olive oil on a seasoned cast iron griddle), and heat over medium-high heat.  Use 1/3 cup of batter at a time.  Cook approximately 40 seconds per side, flipping when top is bubbly, sides are slightly dried out, and bottom is well-browned.

Use within 48 hours, or freeze unused portion, separating each pancake with a sheet of waxed paper.

Quick Granola (GFCF non-recipe)

Lately, every time I have concocted something with which I’ve been especially pleased, and I intend to post a recipe, it has stayed firmly rooted in the Land of Intention, never to venture out into Reality.  Part of me wants to hold of on posting this until it is a real recipe with measured quantities, but I know that, given my track record from the last several months, that plan doesn’t bode well of success.

Not that it matters so much to you, but I am delighted that this recipe is Fiala-safe (I think).  She still has an extremely limited diet, but she can eat g.f. oats, olive oil, cinnamon, and blueberries.  She can eat cranberries, too, — they’re related to blueberries — though I limit them, as dried cranberries contain sugar, and fresh cranberries are too tart.  But, for this recipe… I’m splurging, partly because her skin has been better this past week than it has been in months**, and I think her system can weather a little extra sugar.  This granola is certainly not high-sugar, but it’s more sugar than Fi would typically eat.  She loved it, and ate three toddler-sized bowls with oat milk.

So, here’s my non-recipe.  It’s a non-recipe, as I did not actually measure anything;  I simply sloshed it in, and the amounts specified are based upon my (educated) guesses.

Printable PDF:  Quick Granola (GFCF)

Quick Granola (GFCF)

  • about 1/4 cup olive (or other) oil
  • about 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
  • about 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (or a bit less)
  • two handfuls dried fruit (I used blueberries and cranberries)
  • 2-3 Tbsp roasted sunflower seeds (or raw*)

Onto the countertop, spread a sheet of aluminum foil.

In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  When fragrant, stir in the oats.  Stir very frequently until the oats are medium golden brown.  Add cinnamon and brown sugar, and stir until brown sugar is melted, about one minute.

Quickly (so that the sugar does not burn), pour oat mixture onto the sheet of aluminum foil, and spread it so it can cool.  When oats are cool (or nearly so), add the fruit and seeds.

When completely cooled, store in an air-tight container.

——————–

*If you want to use raw sunflower seeds, add them with the oats into the hot oil.

**We even introduced pineapple this past week, and she passed with FLYING COLORS.  This is the first food that she’s definitely passed as a trial in literally months.  The week before, she failed mango.  She also recently failed chocolate (I know, bad call;  I had mercy on her pleas for “tsok-ah-LOT???”, and I shouldn’t have caved).  She MAY be all right with almonds;  they don’t seem to mess up her skin at all, but they make for super-crazy-stinky diapers, which, as I type, strikes me as TMI for a recipe post…

Family, baseball, book-writing, and God’s provision

  • Taking Fiala off of potatoes was so beneficial, I hopefully thought, “Maybe what I thought was a corn reaction was really potato!  Maybe she can really have corn!”  So, last week, I tried her on corn for three days.  That was dumb.  Ever since, she has been SO itchy, poor girl.  New lesions developed on her face, which she then scratched into oblivion, and are now infected.  So, for the third time in less than six months, she’s back on antibiotics (Septra), as I wasn’t able to contain/control/heal the infection with topical bacitracin.  😦  Bummer.  But, at least we know how to treat it, and at least I know now for SURE that corn is totally off-limits.  Every couple of months, I try it, and I’m just not going to do that again, for a very long while.  Though it would be so handy if she could eat corn, it’s just not worth it.
  • Ethan’s Little League team lost in a very close game last night, their first loss of the end-of-year tournament.  The final score was 3-2.  It’s a double-elimination tourney, so they have at least one more game.  If they win tonight’s game — and they should! —  they will play again on Friday.  If they win THAT game, they will play again on Saturday for the championship, because the team they will potentially meet on Friday (which is the team to which they lost, last night) is undefeated.  (Double-elim tourneys are confusing, but I think I finally have it figured out!!!)
  • Our dog, Tally, is recovering SO WELL from this most recent bout with Valley Fever.  She is still on twice-daily fluconazole, but it is so encouraging to see her have her energy back, and she’s building muscle tone by eating extra food and zipping about the back yard.
  • I’m in my final hours of ghost-writing the book I’ve been working on since February.  Even though it seems like there has been continually “one more thing!” there really is light at the end of the tunnel now.  Even though I have very much enjoyed work on it, I’m ready to be DONE with it.  I hoped to be done yesterday.  Then today…  Nope.  Still need work, probably 2-4 hours on both tomorrow and Friday.
  • God provides.  A few weeks ago, after assessing the girls’ summer wardrobes, and finding both paltry, and being in greater need than what we have the budget for, I prayed that God would provide.  Within a couple of days, I got a phone call, “What sizes do your girls wear?  I have a bunch of clothes, size 18 months through 4T…”  Which is exactly what we needed.  Thank you, Jesus.  Another mom tentatively approached me at church on Sunday about some hand-me-downs for my 8yo son, as well.  She kind of danced around the topic, and when I finally figured out that she was trying not to OFFEND me by offering me second-hand clothes, I told her gushingly that I LOVE hand-me-downs, and was very thankful, and completely NOT offended.  🙂
  • My husband’s brother, after not living on his own — EVER — for his first 40 years of life, moved to Colorado a couple years ago, and all but disappeared.  But, after leaving a message for him at his church last week, we finally were able to get a hold of him, and are delighted that we will be able to see him later this summer during our family’s vacation.

School, writing, bread, Clean Eating, and gaining weight

  • We’re not schooling this week;  I’m devoting as much time as I can to finishing the book that I’m ghostwriting for a friend.  We’re going on three months now, and I am feeling a need to FINISH, and need devoted, multiple hours to do so.
  • In bread news:  My gluten-free vegan bread makes FABULOUS hamburger buns.  We had bacon cheeseburgers last night (at least, those of us who can have cheese did;  the rest had bacon hamburgers).  Yum.  It’s just going to take a little while to get the entire post together — there are lots of notes on ingredients and technique for the recipe, as well as a ton of pics.  Hopefully, I’ll have it done some time this week, though!
  • Along the lines of FOOD, I got my first issue of Clean Eating in the mail last Thursday.  What a fabulous magazine.  It’s like it was made-to-order for me.  I can’t wait to try the recipes!!  A year has six issues, and is about $12 for a subscription.  Well worth it, in my opinion!!  Not every recipe is gluten-free, but there is a chart in the back which lists which ones are…  And most of the other recipes are easily adjusted to make g.f.  Each issue contains lots of recipes, plus health and ingredient info and news (For instance, did you know that broccoli and other foods in the Brassica/mustard family contain a phytonutrient that has been shown to activate a natural anti-imflammatory system in the nasal passages??), book and product reviews (both grocery items and kitchen gadgets), restaurant and travel info, bits on exercise, all packaged in a very attractive, yet unpretentious package!  At LEAST, sign up for the e-newsletter!  (And, no, I’m not being paid by the mag;  I fell in love with it upon seeing an issue in my doctor’s office, so I’m just sharin’ the love.)
  • I’ve officially said, “Farewell!” to a size 6.  It was fun while it lasted.  However, I’ve found that when I’m not “forced” (out of love and necessity) to eat a highly restricted diet on my daughter Fiala’s behalf, it’s a lot harder to refuse things like jellybeans and Karamel Sutra ice cream.  🙂  I still weigh less than I have in about ten years (not including the last six months or so), but now that I know how slender I can be, size 8 feels alarmingly chubby.  Maybe if I actually go running, instead of just thinking about it, I can re-lose those pounds…

Grill addiction, Little League, perseverance, and recipes not written down

  • Hello, my name is Karen and I am addicted to my grill.  When the tank runs out of propane, a sense of despondency creeps in, and I think, “How am I going to make dinner?”  My mind immediately comes up with about 20 plans for a grill-based dinner, and the two or so alternate plans I can conjure simply don’t sound appealing.
  • Little League season is now here.  We’re only two weeks or so into the season, and I’m already feeling stretched thin.  Ethan is in the majors now, which I guess brings the better practice fields as well as the nicer jerseys.  Actually, he was provided with both a game jersey and cap AND a practice jersey and cap!  About those “better practice fields”:  They’re lit.  Artificial light means that practice times are not based on the availability of sunlight.  Which so far, has meant practices that regularly run from 7:00 – 9:15.  NINE FIFTEEN!  This means that either a) we have exhausted little ones from keeping them out late 3-4x/week, OR, b) I rarely see my husband because we are playing tag-team parenting, OR c) some better third option that I have not yet figured out.  Until “c” comes into view, “b” it is.  I have enlisted the help of my stepdad;  he picks Ethan up from his Wednesday night practices, and brings him to the location of the kinship I attend, so that Ethan’s not left hanging in a dark park after 9 p.m., and so Martin doesn’t have to pull the littles out of bed to pick Ethan up.
  • Also pertaining to LL, but deserving its own bullet:  After a couple of years of coaches-who-are-admirable-for-their-volunteer-commitment-but-not-necessarily-for-their-coaching-ability, I prayed that Ethan would be drafted onto a team who had a true COACH.  That is, not just one who can point out the errors, but who gives instruction on how to tweak the arm just so, or plant the foot this way, in order to correct the problem.  Coach Wall is EXACTLY that.  He is calm, very orderly, very genial, but very exacting.  He also says, “Don’t worry if this is new;  we have all season to work on it.”  Already, Ethan is overwhelmed.  He’s easily overwhelmed, though, because he is a blessed child to whom most things come easily, and in the things he doesn’t do well, he has a hard time persevering.  Hm.  Poor child;  wonder where he gets that??? <guilty look>  My parents did nothing to correct this flaw in me;  in fact, I didn’t even recognize it as something that needed fixing until I was 25 or so!!  With gentle prodding, lots of encouraging words, and hard work thrown in, Ethan and I are BOTH working through it.
  • On Friday, the kids and I made some stellar Lemon-Lime Blueberry Coconut Milk Frozen Pops.  They were AWESOME.  Sixteen of them, and only one is left.  Of course, I did not write down the recipe, which I am regretting.  I will attempt to recreate them in the near future, this time recording ingredients and amounts, and will hopefully post a recipe soon.
  • I worked last week to see if Fiala could tolerate rice.  The jury is still out, as she had no serious BAD reaction, but she does have a bit of rash on her face that has no other likely source.  ~sigh~  It does seem, though, that she can have potato, which is HUGE.
  • Speaking of Fi, she was sick over the weekend — the first time in EIGHT WEEKS, which is fabulous, because that’s the longest she has ever gone — to my memory — without getting sick.  Bless God.
  • Must run.  An untidy kitchen and dinner-to-be-made (sans grill) beckon.

Bits from the week

So.  Well.  Part of me thinks, “I shouldn’t FEEL this busy.”  And the other part of me thinks, “Whaddya kidding???”  Stuff I’m doing and/or involved in right now:

  • Homeschooling, including a stepped-up participation in a group, which we really haven’t done in several years.  The boys are all doing an art class, plus weekly park day, plus field trips — really cool ones (the upcoming one is a desert survival outing led by a park ranger at the Spur Cross Regional Park in Cave Creek…  one next week is a homeschooling day put on by Arizona Game & Fish… and there’s homeschooling day at the State Capitol building, including a Q&A with the governor).
  • I’m still leading worship in a weekly kinship (small group/home group/Bible study).  Martin leads one on a different night.
  • I’ve been researching my family’s genealogy, both my side, and Martin’s.  That will end soon, though, because my free two weeks on http://www.ancestry.com ends on Wednesday, and I’m not paying the $159 it takes to continue.  Still.  It’s been a very cool investigation.  I’ve been collecting books and papers for a number of years, and those, added to the reams of info available online, has led to some confirmations, and some surprises.  Several family lines I’ve traced back to the 1600s.  I’m also really regretting not naming my children with family names, because I’ve come upon some really cool ones.  One surprise is that I’ve always heard that, through my mother’s mother, I was related to Samuel Chase, who signed the Declaration of Independence.  If my research is right, I’m not, at least not a direct descendant.  He might be a GGGG Uncle or something like that, but I, sadly, am not his granddaughter.
  • Little League is starting on Wednesday, and we’re gearing up for that.
  • Plus, I’m at work 5-10 hours a week (closer to five, so far) re-writing a friend’s book, which has been great fun, and very satisfying work.
  • Fiala is continuing to do very well.  I had hoped that the antibiotics that she was on for five weeks would totally cure her, but it does look like she has some serious underlying food allergies.  I don’t remember if I blogged about prunes (gave her hives), and the most recent really bad reaction (head-to-toe rash) was from corn.  Bummer.  Still.  Things are good.
  • I lost my phone almost a week ago.  I thought I left it at Denny’s, but a friend got a gobbeldy-gook text message two days after I lost it, which makes me think that tiny fingers found the phone, and it’s somewhere in the house, which is all the more frustrating, because it’s like, “WHERE IS IT????”  We’ve checked usage online, though, and it doesn’t appear that it has fallen into enemy hands, which is a huge relief.
  • OK!  I need to go whip up dinner, and comfort a crying 3yo.  🙂
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